I.D.S. ...........Big Issue and Self Employment

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Prabhakari

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again.

http://tinyurl.com/orhaace

Bizarre claim about benefit tourism.

edit I added a bit more to the title > Sunshine
« Last Edit: 07 Jun 2014 12:09PM by SunshineMeadows »
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Ricardomeister

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Re: I.D.S. ...........

  • on: 06 Jun 2014 11:51AM
No surprises that a rather desperate Duncan Smith is trying to divert attention away from far more important issues that highlight his shocking incompetence. Yesterday the official PIP figures were released which show the very large backlogs that many thousands of people are facing, though Duncan Smith has been rather quiet on that.

Sadly the press seem more interested in what is a relatively trivial issue. Even Duncan Smith admits that there is no systematic evidence of benefit tourism, so I cannot get over-excited about this as there are far more important welfare/benefits issues that need addressing.

feehutch

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Re: I.D.S. ...........

  • on: 06 Jun 2014 11:55AM
Very appropriate snap of him they used.
I guess in they will just continue to divert the press from the huge scale of the muck ups they have made with little easy to write about soundbites.  It's pathetic but even though the media knows that is what they are doing (same with dumping bad news stories on days where all the attention will be elsewhere) no one ever challenges it :(
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Sunshine Meadows

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Re: I.D.S. ...........

  • on: 07 Jun 2014 12:02PM

Iain Duncan Smith says Big Issue magazine is 'helping UK benefit tourists'


Mr Duncan Smith said the magazine was being used "more and more" as a foothold for Romanians to access tax credits

Rob Williams
Thursday, 5 June 2014


Iain Duncan Smith has criticised the Big Issue magazine saying that it provides a way for immigrants from eastern Europe to claim benefits in Britain.

Mr Duncan Smith said the magazine was being used "more and more" as a foothold for Romanians and other Europeans to access tax credits.

The work and pensions secretary, who was answering a question from the floor at an event in Berlin, said that immigrants from Europe were "immediately" able to claim tax credits on arrival in Britain due to their self-employed status as magazine vendors.

The Times reported that Mr Duncan Smith, who was in Germany speaking about British welfare policy, also attacked EU interference in immigration matters saying it was  “unwarranted and unwanted”.

When asked by a member of the audience for examples of so-called "benefits tourism" he admitted he did not have anything other than anecdotal examples, but went on to attack the Big Issue magazine.

“You need to deal with the perception and there is a core element of truth that in that influx a number of people did find themselves drifting in and out of benefits,” Mr Duncan Smith said, The Times reported.

“A good example of that is the Big Issue, a magazine which is a brilliant idea by a brilliant individual who himself was homeless. It is wonderful,” he said.

"But actually what is happening progressively, more and more, is people mostly from southern and eastern Europe have actually ended up being Big Issue sellers and they claim, as self-employed, immediately, tax credits."

"So when we talk about benefits, they are not just out-of-work benefits, they are also in-work benefits that are being claimed."

"Romanians have been claiming those for some time now, regardless of when they came in. We had a reasonable influx of Romanians long before we opened the doors on January 1. "

"They came in on the self-employment level and that is an issue that needs to be dealt with. So [when] I talk about benefit tourism in a sense, we are talking about in-work benefit tourism,” he said.

The Big Issue responded angrily to Mr Duncan Smith's comments, and accused him of using the magazine as a scapegoat for the loophole in the law.

“If the government feels that the rules applying to in-work and out-of-work benefits need changing, then they need to look at that carefully. In the meantime, it is wrong to promote the idea that the Big Issue is doing anything nefarious or harmful in adding to a problem which is not of its making.”

A DWP spokesman said the department had already taken action to stop immigrants using the loophole.

“We recognise that this was a loophole that was abused and that’s why, this March, we introduced the minimum earnings threshold of £153 per week.”
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/iain-duncan-smith-says-big-issue-magazine-is-helping-uk-benefit-tourists-9492515.html#

Sunshine Meadows

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Re: I.D.S. ...........

  • on: 07 Jun 2014 12:07PM
IDS is such a  >bleep< and in some ways the journalist is worse for writing the article they way he did.

A quick web search does bring up the fact the Big Issue does employ Romanians but there is more to it.

http://www.bigissue.com/features/columnists/1026/one-thousand-ways-helping-homeless-help-themselves#

Quote
Nearly 21 years after launch and attaining 1,000 issues is reason for celebration, but not entirely. We still have to find better ways of working with people so they get off the street. We still need to address the problem of how we push up the value of our product so that the public dive on to the Big Issue vendor, thirsty for the next issue. And we still have to invent new means of ‘helping the homeless to help themselves’.

Twenty-one years ago there were no Romanians selling The Big Issue. Now we work with a sizable group of people from Eastern Europe. That has thrown up problems for us because some question our take on Romanians.

The Big Issue was started to help decriminalise people; so to feed and tend to themselves, and at times to feed their habits, they didn’t get involved in crime. This sticks in the throat of many.

We work with Romanians because if we don’t their children don’t go to school, and the chance of them getting into trouble increases. Poverty throws up crime and we have to address that, even if it upsets us to admit it.

devine63

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I'm puzzled why their statement seems to use "Eastern Europeans" and "Romanians" are used interchangably

regards, Deb

Dic Penderyn

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Racism basically.
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NeuralgicNeurotic

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Quote
When asked by a member of the audience for examples of so-called "benefits tourism" he admitted he did not have anything other than anecdotal examples, but went on to attack the Big Issue magazine.

Yep, because who needs facts when you've got anecdotes.

stalwart

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This sounds strange coming from a tory welfare minister, yes I know that should be expected of him, but looking at the aims of the Big Issue it states

"We operate an open door policy and work with individuals who have made the first step to try and work themselves out of homelessness."

Isn't this the stated aim of the tories, to encourage people to work themselves out of poverty? 

Someone should remind him that while we remain in Europe we cannot stop any European from working here.

Perhaps the gov should stop the practice of allowing job seekers to say that they are self employed and then claim tax credits...............oh, no that would show the true figures for the unemployed wouldn't it!

That wouldn't suit the pm in waiting, sorry the chancellor, as it would mess up his claim that the country has good growth and more people employed.
« Last Edit: 08 Jun 2014 03:22PM by stalwart »

Dic Penderyn

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I's strange that not long since I was told that Job Center staff had been advising people to do just that,  sign off JS register as self employed and claim working tax credit. As it was more money.
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Sunshine Meadows

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Quote
I's strange that not long since I was told that Job Center staff had been advising people to do just that,  sign off JS register as self employed and claim working tax credit. As it was more money.

 >yikes<

The article about Romanians and the Big Issue did make me wonder if the Con Dems used it as an excuse to up the earnings level that has to be reached before a claimant can get Tax Credits.


Hurtyback

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I asked 'full facts' to take a look at IDS's claims and they will let me know if they get anywhere. I will keep you up to date with any news I get.

Sunny Clouds

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I've a horrible suspicion I'm going to be deeply unpopular for what I'm about to say.  This goes back to pre-2014.

Near where I live, a vendor spot was taken over by a Romanian woman.  She's very pleasant and chatty but also very pushy.  She partially blocks the shop doorway.  She has very few BIs and when you watch, it's clear that, like some (but not all) other vendors, her main income is from donations not purchases.

Anyway, park her mentally to one side for a brief moment.  People with influence locally went on the warpath against the local beggars.  Legal restrictions were sought and people moved on.  The man who liked to just sit there with his dog at a polite distance from shop doorways and politely ask for money without saying 'have a nice day' in a snidey tone of voice if you didn't give him any money got moved on.

But someone from BI made a bit of a thing about how it was a good thing that now we only had the BI seller who was genuinely selling things.

Well so was the woman who was selling cheap lighters etc. but who was driven out of the shopping area with the new court order as all the beggars were driven out en masse, and she didn't pester people, just politely offer her wares, and she never asked for donations, just for you to buy.

I stopped to think about it.  What was so special about the BI woman that made it ok for her to waylay us on our way in and out of the shop with her smile and her very, very small number of magazines?

I thought even more about it.  She'd been there a very long time.  I looked at the local housing market.  There was no way she could still be homeless, surely?  Not after years.  So I looked into it.  I realised (which I never had before and most people I know hadn't) that you don't have to be homeless or even recently homeless to sell BI, you have to be 'insecurely housed'.

So I looked into it further.  How could someone argue that she was insecurely housed after all this time?  After all, a bog standard AST is such that you can be chucked out on two months' notice after the initial 6 or 12 months and if she's got a new tenancy she's got that 6 or 12 month security essentially so long as she pays the rent, so once she sells a few BIs and gets some LHA, she's presumably more securely housed than I am.

Then someone at BI explained.  This was before the rules changed and at that stage you couldn't come from A2 countries to be an employee but you could in order to be self-employed and you could get tax credits.  So long as she sold a few BIs (no minimum number) and hung around for a certain number of hours a week, she could claim not only tax credits but also HB/LHA.  If she stopped selling her BI, she couldn't get any benefits, so she was regarded as being insecurely housed because her HB/LHA depended on her selling BI.

I'm afraid I didn't like it.  If they're going to sell a product on the basis that it's understood by most people (I believe) to be for homeless or very recently homeless people, that's what it should be there for, not as a long-term career for someone for several years, because in some areas, that is what it has become.  Simply a job with the bonus of lots of donations topping up the profits, that enables you to get benefits you otherwise couldn't get.

I don't give to our local BI seller and I don't buy her product.   I give to those locally whom I know to be genuinely homeless or genuinely close to it.  I give to those quiet people who don't try to tug on my heartstrings but just offer a friendly smile and hello. 

To be fair, not all my hostility towards BI and their long term 'insecurely housed' sellers is just about this.  I have been fed up with other BI sellers being aggressive.  There's one who's recently moved onto a pitch outside a supermarket in a neighbouring area and you can't get in or out of the shop without him being in your way.  If you try to unlock a trolley, you'll be distracted by him trying to get money off you.  He's not the only one and it annoys me.  He looks like he may be East European, but I don't know and I don't assume.  I know that as a BI seller, there's a one in three chance he's Romanian but that's as far as it goes.

Nevertheless, I think that if BI is going to function to a large extent, albeit not primarily, as a (lawful) vehicle for immigrants to get benefits to which they would not otherwise be entitled, and if in order to achieve that they're going to have the same people selling BI for years on end to people less securely housed than they are (new AST = 6 or 12 months, after that rolling tenancy or AST with 2 months notice) they need to be up front about that being what their organisation is about.

Meanwhile, I rarely use that local shop where the woman lies in wait in the doorway like a tarantula waiting to pounce and having got in the way of shopping in the other shop where the new vendor has moved in, I will now be transferring my custom elsewhere.

And yes, I will still give to beggars (of whatever colour/ethnicity) who are honest and who don't stand in my way and hassle me, and I will still help homeless people, be it with money or food, but I regard BI as dishonest.

If it thinks that what it does is ok, that's fine, but tell us that that's what it's doing and stop selling itself as being primarily about  homeless people getting back on their feet.  In relation to a proportion, and I'd guess most, of its A2 sellers, they're not genuinely homeless or genuinely insecurely housed in the sense in which most of us would understand it, whatever BI's small print definitions may be.

Like I say, insofar as it's been legal, BI can do what it does, but I don't regard it as honest in terms of what it gives the public to understand what it does.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

lankou

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I have never seen a Big Issue seller.

oldtone27

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I have never seen a Big Issue seller.

I don't know what area you hail from but around my way, Poole, they are commonplace. Even my own small suburb of Poole supports one and I have often wondered how she can make any sort of living. Sunny has given me a clue because I suppose it is from benefits rather than employment. These benefits being contingent on minimal employment.

I guess this is the core of the governments dilemma. How much does the state subsidise people who might otherwise be more gainfully employed. BI might be a worthy journal but if she only sells a handful that is hardly contributing much.

The government does seem to have mishandled the whole issue, but then previous governments didn't have any solutions either. I guess there is no overall consensus on who should be supported nor to what extent, so there will always be contentious cases.